Your horse’s dry skin and dull coat
Well, there are many reasons a horse has dry skin and a dull coat. Sometimes it’s just winter! But there are many causes and many solutions.
Reasons your horse is dull-looking
- Mud, rain, weather, wind, rolling, dry air. The elements create layers of dirt and gunk on your horse that will make him appear dull and dry.
- Nutrition plays a role. Diets missing key nutrients, especially fatty acids, will often be dry and brittle looking. Supplements can help replace Omega fatty acids in the diet, helping with skin and coat quality.
- Are you up to date on health issues (teeth, worming, etc?). Horses with worm infestations are depleted of nutrients and carry a physical blockage (the worms themselves) to good health. Teeth in need of care are unable to properly chew and start the digestion process. Bring your Veterinarian out for a visit to do a fecal egg count and check on those chompers.
Topical coat conditioners and grooming oils can help your horse be less dull looking.
For clipped and blanketed horses
- Did you clip your horse? Clipped hairs are not tapered at the ends like regular hairs, so a clipped coat won’t be as smooth. Using conditioners, grooming oils, and other grooming products in addition to elbow grease will help.
- If you use a grooming oil BEFORE you clip, your clippers will have some extra zoom as they glide through your horse’s coat.
- Blankets or fly sheets – While certainly necessary in some circumstances, blankets flatten hairs and can create rub marks. This can contribute to a duller appearance!
What you can do about poor skin and coat
Comet’s fuzzy winter hair makes him a bit dull-looking.
Start inside your horse
- You may consider adding some supplements to his diet or even adjusting his rations and hay intake. Our great friends at Kentucky Performance Products shared their knowledge, and this is what they say:
“Certain nutrients, such as omega fatty acids; the trace minerals zinc, copper and iodine; the essential amino acids lysine and methionine (found in high-quality proteins) and the B vitamin biotin, must be present in the correct amounts in a horse’s diet or skin, hooves, and hair will suffer. Getting the right balance is key, more is not always better. Take selenium for instance. This trace mineral must be properly balanced in the diet, too much selenium can cause toxicity which leads to hair loss in the mane and tail, among other symptoms.”
- Chat with your veterinarian or equine nutritionist to find what is right for your horse in supplements. Find one with great Omega 3’s.
- Do regular fecal egg counts to monitor the internal parasite load of your horse. There’s no need in boosting your horse’s diet if the parasites are going to steal all of it.
Now get ready with the elbow grease
- Mud and other dusty dirty winter (or summer) things dull a coat super fast. If you have a vacuum, this is a great tool to use. I like to use it after a very deep curry, seems to get more dirt out that way.
- Find a nice grooming spray that you like. Often, they work well if you spritz your rag or brush and then apply. I like this method in winter, otherwise, the longer hairs tend to soak in the spray and you end up with oily dots. You will keep your brushes nice, and your horse gets some sheen added.
- Make and use a wisp. This is totally “old school,” but what a party trick! These wisps are also “shine makers.” You can find directions to make one here.
- Oil buff your horse. Oil buffing is a handy way of working a conditioning grooming oil into your horse’s coat. This does three things – conditions the coat, adds shine, and helps with waterproofing your horse. Oil buffing is wildly easy to do with a bucket of water with oil, and cloths or a brush. You can oil buff any time of year, and there are many ways to do it.
For the complete guide to oil buffing your horse, read this gem
Oil buffing info
Tips for oil buffing your horse
If you want to pick up some grooming oils for your horse, check into my faves below. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. There is ZERO extra cost to you and you also get some good vibes from me sent your way.
HandsOn Grooming Gloves – also, use code PEG for some free shipping!
Genuine Cactus Cloth – Natural – 18 X 16-1/2 Standard This is much better for stain removal and spreading natural oils around.
Amigo Mio Fly sheet – I love this one, the extra long tail prevents bugs up the butt, and the neckpiece is great. It’s also super light, which means it tears easily.